WASHINGTON, January 27 - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today that the issue of Ben Bernanke's reappointment as chairman of the Federal Reserve has as much to do with the future as the past.
Sanders said that a new Fed chairman must do more to stop credit card ripoffs, provide credit to small businesses, break up big banks and be truthful with taxpayers.
Sanders is leading the Senate opposition to a second term for Bernanke. First appointed by President George W. Bush, Bernanke's term expires on Sunday.
In the future, Sanders said, "The American people need a chairman of the Federal Reserve who will require bailed-out banks to stop ripping off consumers and small businesses by charging usurious interest rates and sky-high fees. The Fed needs to tell bailed-out banks that they cannot charge 25 percent or 30 percent interest rates on credit cards and other loans.
"The American people need a Federal Reserve committed to fulfilling its mandate of maximum employment. The Fed can do this by providing low interest loans to small- and medium-sized businesses to create jobs in the productive economy. Under Ben Bernanke, small business lending is in freefall.
"The American people need a chairman of the Federal Reserve who will break-up too-big-to-fail banks so that they no longer pose a catastrophic risk to the economy, just like the Bank of England is doing.
"The American people need a chairman of the Federal Reserve who will tell the American people exactly who has received over $2 trillion in taxpayer assistance from the Fed since the financial crisis started. This money does not belong to the Fed. It belongs to the American people. The American people have a right to know where their money is going."
Sanders made the case for blocking Bernanke from a second term in an editorial response published today by USA Today. To read it, click here.
"It is clear to almost everyone," the senator wrote, "that Chairman Bernanke was asleep at the switch while Wall Street became the largest gambling casino in the history of the world and hurtled into insolvency. His failure to adequately regulate financial institutions should not be rewarded with a reappointment."